It doesn't seem to make much sense spending a ton of money on the bullpen, now that's not to say that the team has anyone at the back-end of games who I'm confident in, it's more of an indictment on where the team is at, then anything else. Once they started talking about returning the entire positional team minus Jose Reyes, I started feeling like what's the point, your losing the best player on a 77 win team. I know all the "If's" about healthy returning players but we've been living with those "If's" for four years.
Let me make this clear, in no way am I blaming Alderson for this mess and if there's anyone who I believe could put a competitive team together under these circumstances it would be him and his staff. As I chronicled in an earlier post this situation is clearly due to the financial restraints of ownership.
If I could trust ownership to reinvest directly into the organization then I would say, why bother spending money this year. March the cheapest team you can field out there, call it a rebuilding year and save the money for 2013-2014. See what Parnell and Acosta can do over a full year, after all; say you spend 10M for Frank Francisco and Matt Capps what will they net you five wins and your 75 win team instead of 70 (big deal).
But I don't believe in the Wilpon's; if the fans accepted that type of team, where they obviously made no effort this off-season, I don't believe they would reward the fans in years to come. I can't see the Wilpon's saying in 2013 if their finances straighten out, well we were going to spend 130M but since we saved 10M in 2011 we'll spend 140M this year. I don't even see them using the money to straighten things out, I've lost so much faith in them I could see them blowing saved monies on something stupid ( Kinda like laying off employees while spending on new uniforms and stadium dimensions).
So I say to Alderson, spend every last cent they allow you to as long as it doesn't effect future plans. Just maybe that 10M they spend is the straw that breaks the camel's back and they're finally forced to sell.
If your going to spend anything I agree that the bullpen is where you spend it, the problem maybe that the market for closer's has gone through the roof. The best closer on the market Jonathan Papelbon got four years at 50M at the age of 31, in a year where he blew the save that eliminated his team from the playoffs. Madson had a similar offer on the table with just 52 saves under his belt at the age of 31. Even more alarming was Joe Nathan at 37 y/o, coming off a season where he struggled to comeback from TJ surgery getting 14M for two years with an option.
I agree with Adam Rubin's calculations, to stay at 95M the Mets have about 13M to spend this offseason. And Jon Heyman believes there are seven to eight teams looking for closers.
Even with money to spend that will cut it very close, according to MLBTR there are eight closer available. Looking at the reliever list I would include a few more, granted most of the others would be more fitted as set-up men (listed below the asterisks). There are 19 relievers below the asterisk line, every single one of them has at least one save and even guys like Brad Lidge and Jason Isringhausen were elite closers. The Mets will be able to import someone but it's cutting close as to whether they will be able to grab an elite closer, especially since they want to sign more then one reliever. There are eight top closer and eight teams with a vacancy, however; that doesn't include teams and closer's looking at set-up roles.
Instead of a Matt Capps/Frank Francisco tandem, we may end up with a Dotel/Rauch situation.